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Cultural perspectives on positive responses to extreme adversity: A playing field for metaphors


Meili, Iara; Maercker, Andreas (2019). Cultural perspectives on positive responses to extreme adversity: A playing field for metaphors. Transcultural psychiatry, 56(5):1056-1075.

Abstract

In Euro-American societies, "resilience" and "post-traumatic growth" are commonly used metaphorical terms for positive responses to extreme adversity. However, research on illness narratives has demonstrated that other cultures may have different metaphorical concepts that act as vehicles for shared beliefs about how to overcome extreme adversity or traumatic experiences. The purpose of this article is to identify metaphors used in various cultures to describe positive responses to extreme adversity and to discuss the cultural ontologies and other socio-cultural factors that shape them. Metaphors of this nature were extracted from psychological, anthropological and ethnographic studies and were organized into categories: battle, path, container, balance, weight, object and network metaphors. Findings support the notion that metaphorical expressions related to positive responses to extreme adversity vary widely across cultures. We argue that an understanding of cultural differences in metaphors for mental health-related concepts is crucial to assisting trauma survivors from different cultural backgrounds.

Abstract

In Euro-American societies, "resilience" and "post-traumatic growth" are commonly used metaphorical terms for positive responses to extreme adversity. However, research on illness narratives has demonstrated that other cultures may have different metaphorical concepts that act as vehicles for shared beliefs about how to overcome extreme adversity or traumatic experiences. The purpose of this article is to identify metaphors used in various cultures to describe positive responses to extreme adversity and to discuss the cultural ontologies and other socio-cultural factors that shape them. Metaphors of this nature were extracted from psychological, anthropological and ethnographic studies and were organized into categories: battle, path, container, balance, weight, object and network metaphors. Findings support the notion that metaphorical expressions related to positive responses to extreme adversity vary widely across cultures. We argue that an understanding of cultural differences in metaphors for mental health-related concepts is crucial to assisting trauma survivors from different cultural backgrounds.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Health (social science)
Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Language:English
Date:1 October 2019
Deposited On:27 Aug 2019 12:08
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 11:14
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:1363-4615
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/1363461519844355
PubMed ID:31027474
Project Information:
  • : FunderPsychology Fund at ETH Zurich
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • : Funderthe Baumann Family Foundation
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderFoundation of the works of C. G. Jung
  • : Grant ID
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